The following is a Radio Interview with Dr Rizwhan Suleman of ICAHT that was aired on BBC Radio Bristol on 9th March, 2014
This is an audio recording of BBC Radio Bristol’s interview by BBC’s Sonia Mumtaz with Dr Rizwhan Suleman MChiro of the Institute of Clinically Applied Hijama Therapy (ICAHT) http://www.icaht.co.uk on the topic of Hijama or wet cupping therapy, a practice ever growing in its popularity and now offered in multiple cities throughout the UK http://www.hijamacentres.co.uk
Below is a rough transcript of the interview:
INTRODUCTION: Hijama Therapy is an Islamic remedy and a common practice performed by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) which is still carried out today around the world . So what is this Hijama Therapy and what does it actually do? Well let’s find out a little more. Sonia Mumtaz spoke to Dr Rizwhan Suleman who is based in Bristol, to find out more on Hijama Therapy
Dr Rizwhan Suleman: Well Hijama itself, if you want to describe what it is specifically, it is just applying suction on the surface of the skin which is what is probably what we know as ‘cupping’ in English, but it is a little bit different in the sense that after we apply the suction, we make tiny ‘scratches’ on the surface of the skin, and we re-apply the cup. So it is a little bit like mechanical leeching, that is probably the best way to describe it. It is making small ‘scratches’ on the surface of the skin and applying suction over using cups, or various other techniques to create a suction, like a hickey.
Sonia Mumtaz: You talk about scratches, do your formally scratch yourself on the patients skin?
Dr Rizwhan Suleman: No. When I say scratches, we use a sterile surgical blade, and ‘nip’ the surface of the skin. So I know it sounds quite, erm, it doesn’t sound too easy to swallow that someone is going to cut me with a surgical blade. It is not as invasive as it sounds. It is very much like having your finger pricked with a lancet when you are having your blood sugar tested. So it is just a very small tiny little nip. We do lots of tiny little nips on the surface of the skin and the idea is to create a small break in the surface of the skin to allow and vent any kind of stagnant blood or inflammation that might be in an area which is causing pressure and often pain, and to help remove that which helps re-initiate the body’s natural processes of healing.
Sonia Mumtaz: Where does it originate from, this Hijama Therapy?
Dr Rizwhan Suleman: Well, the word Hijama itself means ‘to suck’, it comes from an Arabic word, so when we say Hijama we are rooting it back to an Arabic origin, however the practice of Hijama itself, can’t be linked to any one culture, civilisation or country in a sense, because it has been used since the beginning of time, since the ancient Egyptians, to the Chinese, to the Polish – I have met Polish patients who are very familiar with what we are doing, they call it Banki, we have Malaysians who call it Bekam, we have Somali culture where they call it Tobin, in Kenya they call Jaanja(?). So in every culture you go to, every country, every language, they will have a word for it. That kind of really demonstrates the global practice of it, and how it has been recognised as an effective cure and treatment by pretty much every civilisation.
It is only recently, within the 1800’s that Hijama or wet-cupping therapy (or in technical terms, scarification combined with cupping, or cupping form of blood-letting) has been lost from the medical system. So it is only our culture in the West that this has really been faded out. Everywhere else you go in the world, you will find it within different cultures and it is very very prevalent.
Sonia Mumtaz: What are its health benefits?
Dr Rizwhan Suleman: This is a question a lot of people ask me:
“How can you possibly have benefit from bleeding?” Again I think you have to have a bit of a scientific understanding to recognise the benefits here. A lot of our problems come from inflammation within our system. With cupping, we treat a lot of pain conditions, this is one of the things that we find is very responsive to the therapy. And a lot of pain conditions are associated very closely with inflammation.
So inflammation itself first of all you have to understand is when we have increased amount of blood in an area where your body has a response and it sends more blood into a particular area. When you have that happening, it causes pressure and because our bodies are a closed system, that pressure causes the stretching of nerve receptors. The chemicals which are released in the inflammation, or the inflammatory modulators, they cause pain as well as they stimulate the nerve receptors, which again send all these messages of pain.
Now quite often we will find a state of inflammation called chronic inflammation. Normally inflammation is actually a natural process and it is conducive to healing. However, when we have chronic inflammation, we get a process within the tissues, where we get a perpetual cycle of tissue damage and pain where the body gets kind of stuck in a way where it can’t heal itself.
So Hijama comes into the picture in those situations where we apply a suction over the surface area where there is increased pressure where we have inflammation or stagnation of blood and fluids, we make these tiny little pinpricks on the surface of the skin. So if you imagine it is like a venting an area which is filled up with pressure and has a lot of inflammation in the area and we have stagnant blood and we have a chronic inflammation process going on.
We put the suction cup over the area and we make these tiny little pricks on the skin which is a natural way of venting that pressure which has built up in the tissues, getting rid of that inflammation and helping the body restore its normal healing processes and kickstart its natural processes of healing.
CONCLUSION: That was Dr Rizwhan Suleman talking to BBC’s Sonia Mumtaz
ICAHT (Institute of Clinically Applied Hijama Therapy)
Tel: +44 (0)7533 446 373
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